“Frank told me once, and I don’t know whether he was right or not, that all the best undercovers have a dark thread woven into them, somewhere.”
This is a book I was given as a present, and which also happens to be the second in a series of novels by Tana French, the first of which I have not read. So it’s nice that despite these things I feel that this is a book work recommending.
Cassie Maddox is a detective in Dublin, transferred away from the murder squad after a bad experience, but who can’t resist the lure of an intriguing case, particularly when the victim looks like her twin sister. There follows the perfect opportunity for her to go undercover with the woman’s friends and try to identify her killer. It’s this group of friends that really provide the heart of this story – they are so close to each other it becomes creepy, and watching Cassie try to penetrate their group and fit in with them as their close companion Lexie Maddison, is a times toe curlingly suspenseful. If she gets the slightest thing wrong, they are guaranteed to notice. The reader can see her slowly getting sucked into their insular world, and I began to doubt whether, if the killer did turn out to be one of the four friends, Cassie would actually turn them in.
The juxtaposition between Cassie and her undercover personality, Lexie, helps to plant these seeds of doubt. Because as her history is revealed, it becomes clear that Lexie was clearly running away from something from her past at the time of her attack, and isn’t who she appears to be, something even her closest friends don’t seem to be aware of. Cassie also seems to be trying to run away from past events, and is drawn into Lexie’s world of resourcefulness and confidence, traits she seems to wish she too possesses.
“You can’t make a person, a human being with a first kiss and a sense of humour and a favourite sandwich, and then expect her to dissolve back into scribbled notes and whiskeyed coffee when she no longer suits your purposes. I think I always knew she would come back to find me, someday.”
This book is creepy, suspenseful, and well written – a detective story with a twist. It certainly has made me want to read the other books in this series. My only criticism would be that it is too long – a serious investment of time is needed to absorb this weighty tome, and in my opinion it probably could have been a hundred pages shorter. But, even so, I would still recommend it. Twists and turns are at every corner.